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Empire State Development’s Connectall Office Seeks Public Comment For State’s Proposals For Federal Bead Funding And Its Digital Equity Plan

Digital Equity Plan Addresses Assets and Barriers for Affordable, Accessible and Equitable Broadband Across New York State 

Draft Plans are Open through December 6, 2023

Empire State Development’s ConnectALL Office seeks public comment on three draft documents that describe how New York will bridge the digital divide in the state. The State’s Proposal for the deployment of Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding, presented in two volumes, is the roadmap for $665 million in federal funding that ConnectALL will invest in internet infrastructure over the next five years. The State Digital Equity Plan presents the findings from an unprecedented statewide assessment of the assets and barriers to the adoption and use of internet service and the strategies the ConnectALL Office will use for federal digital equity funding when that is made available to New York in 2024.

The ConnectALL Office consulted with dozens of county and municipal governments, Tribal nations, workforce development organizations, and internet service providers, and partnered with digital equity coalitions in every region of the state to conduct stakeholder engagement events, gather data, and solicit feedback to inform the State’s plans. This included over 40 stakeholder focus groups with members of historically marginalized groups, dozens of stakeholder meetings and interviews, public listening sessions in each of the state’s ten regions and in each borough of New York City, multiple issue-based forums, and the first-ever Digital Equity Survey of New York residents with representative samples from key populations and across regions.

The Initial Proposal describes how the ConnectALL Office will determine the unserved and underserved locations that will be eligible for BEAD funding and the criteria it will use to select internet service providers to reach those locations. Following the public comment period, ESD’s ConnectALL Office will finalize the documents and submit them to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce, which oversees the federal funding programs. Once NTIA has approved New York’s Broadband Deployment Initial Proposal, ConnectALL will begin the grant program with awards anticipated in 2025 based on the timeline of the federal program.

The State Digital Equity Plan is a requirement to receive federal funding from NTIA under the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, though the amount of funding for New York and the associated rules have not yet been announced. ConnectALL will continue its public engagement as it develops the specific implementation plans once that funding is available, which is anticipated in 2024.

The public is encouraged to read the plans and submit public comment which will be open through December 6, 2023 by visiting these links:

For more information, please  visit the ConnectALL website at https://broadband.ny.gov/

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


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